Red Book CD shares the same audio qualities, and the 9500 does an admirable job of playing this now “ancient” digital format. There is definitely a loss of clarity and obvious compression when switching from a high-resolution format to CD, but the 9500 manages to extract as much as it can from compact disc with a warm, open sound. Overall it really does an excellent job with CDs.
For good measure, the 9500 also does a good job as a transport, but that may also have something to do with the upsampling from the Statement D1 processor.
So where does this leave us when the market is full of $200 upsampling, Faroudja- and DVI/HDMI-equipped DVD players? At the end of the day, there are still many compelling titles in DVD-A and SACD. From Crystal Method to Roxy Music to the Stones to Diana Krall, I love listening to music that sounds so open and alive. The Marantz is an excellent addition to any audio/videophile’s system as it does everything very well, if not as well as the best. While not inexpensive at $2099 (can you guys make the price $2150 and include a better remote?), it does so much so well that to me it seems to be a relative bargain, and will save you space in your equipment rack to boot. Highly recommended.